Page images

Cal. To whom that jewel?

Pen. To virgin-wives, such as abuse not wedlock By freedom of desires, but covet chiefly The pledges of chaste beds for ties of love, Rather than ranging of their blood ; and next 55 To married maids, such as prefer the number Of honourable issue in their virtues Before the flattery of delights by marriage: May those be ever young!

Cal. A second jewel

You mean to part with?

Pen. 'Tis my fame, I trust 60

By scandal yet untouched : this I bequeath
To Memory, and Time's old daughter, Truth. J*»
If ever my unhappy name find mention
When I am fall'n to dust, may it deserve
Beseeming charity without dishonour! 65

Cal. How handsomely thou play'st with harmless sport

Of mere imagination! speak the last.
I strangely like thy will.

Pen. This jewel, madam,

Is dearly precious to me; you must use
The best of your discretion to employ 70
This gift as I intend it.

Cal. Do not doubt me.

Pen. 'Tis long agone since first I lost my heart: Long I have lived without it, else for certain I should have given that too; but instead Of it, to great Calantha, Sparta's heir, 75

By service bound and by affection vowed,
I do bequeath, in holest rites of love,
Mine only brother, Ithocles.

Cal. What saidst thou?

Pen. Impute not, heaven-blest lady, to ambition A faith as humbly perfect as the prayers Of a devoted suppliant can endow it: Look on him, princess, with an eye of pity; How like the ghost of what he late appeared He moves before you.

Cal. Shall I answer here,

Or lend my ear too grossly?

Pen. First his heart

Shall fall in cinders, scorched by your disdain,
Ere he will dare, poor man, to ope an eye
On these divine looks, but with low-bent thoughts
Accusing such presumption; as for words,
He dares not utter any but of service:
Yet this lost creature loves ye.—Be a princess
In sweetness as in blood; give him his doom,
Or raise him up to comfort.

Cal. What new change

Appears in my behaviour, that thou dar'st
Tempt my displeasure?

Pen. I must leave the world

To revel in Elysium, and 'tis just
To wish my brother some advantage here;
Yet, by my best hopes, Ithocles is ignorant
Of this pursuit: but if you please to kill him,
Lend him one angry look or one harsh word,
And you shall soon conclude how strong a power
Your absolute authority holds over
His life and end.

Cal. You have forgot, Penthea,

How still I have a father.

Pen. But remember

I am a sister, though to me this brother 105 Hath been, you know, unkind, O, most unkind!

Cal. Christalla, Philema, where are ye ?—Lady, Your check lies in my silence.

Reenter Christalla and Philema. Chris. and Phil. Madam, here.

Cal. I think ye sleep, ye drones: wait on Penthea Unto her lodging.—[Aside] Ithocles? wronged lady! Pen. My reckonings are made even; death or fate III Can now nor strike too soon nor force too late.


Scene I. The Palace. Ithocles' Apartment.

Enter Ithocles and Armostes.

Ith. Forbear your inquisition; curiosity
Is of too subtle and too searching nature,
In fears of love too quick, too slow of credit.—
I am not what you doubt me.

Arm. Nephew, be, then,

As I would wish ;—all is not right.—Good heaven 5
Confirm your resolutions for dependence
On worthy ends, which may advance your quiet!

Ith. I did the noble Orgilus much injury,
But grieved Penthea more: I now repent it,—
"Now, Tincle7now~;' this " now " is now too late, 10
So provident is folly in sad issue,
That after-wit, like bankrupts' debts, stands tallied,
Without all possibilities of payment.
Sure, he's an honest, very honest gentleman;
A man of single meaning.

Arm. I believe it: 15

Yet, nephew, 'tis the tongue informs our ears;
Our eyes can never pierce into the thoughts,
For they are lodged too inward :—but I question
No truth in Orgilus.—The princess, sir.

Ith. The princess! ha!

Arm. With her the Prince of Argos. 20

Enter Nearchus, leading Calantha; Amelus, Christalla, Philema.

Near. Great fair one, grace my hopes with any instance

Of livery, from the allowance of your favour;
This little spark—

[Attempts to take a ring from her finger.

Cal. A toy!

Near. Love feasts on toys,

For Cupid is a child ;—vouchsafe this bounty:
It cannot be denied.

Cal. You shall not value, 25

Sweet cousin, at a price, what I count cheap;
So cheap, that let him take it who dares stoop for't,
And give it at next meeting to a mistress:
She'll thank him for't, perhaps.

[Casts the ring before Ithocles, who takes it up.

Ame. The ring, sir, is

The princess's; I could have took it up. 30

Ith. Learn manners, prithee.—To the blessed owner,

Upon my knees— [Kneels and offers it to Calantha.

Near. You're saucy.

Cal. This is pretty!

I am, belike, "a mistress "—wondrous pretty !—

« PreviousContinue »